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INSIDE AFRICA

U.N. Releases Grim Report of the Effects of AIDS; Top African Musician's Create CD of AIDS Awareness; Bill Clinton Involved in the Global AIDS Battle; Good Samaritan Helps Children Infected by AIDS; Congested Cairo Creates Lush Oasis; Middle Aged Kenyan Mogul Becomes Disc Jockey

Aired November 27, 2004 - 12:30:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


TUMI MAGABO, HOST: As World AIDS Day approaches, a look at renewed efforts to fight the disease on the continent, including a native Nigerian who has returned home and is using education to help children orphaned by HIV-AIDS.
And how a park in the middle of Cairo is transforming one of the city's poorest neighborhoods and its people.

These stories and more just ahead on this edition of INSIDE AFRICA.

Hello and welcome to the program. I'm Tumi Makgabo.

(AUDIO GAP) Some extraordinary people who combat the HIV-AIDS epidemic on the continent. This as World AIDS Day approaches, and as the United Nations releases yet another alarming report about the disease. According to that report, Africa remains the worst effected area.

So let's take a closer look at the U.N.'s latest report. Susanna Gargelo (ph) has those details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSANNA GARGELO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the victims of a devastating disease threatening to claim Africa and with it a slice of its future. The U.N.'s AIDS Report released ahead of World's AIDS Day next week, says that of the 39.5 million people now living with HIV, 25.5 million, more than half are in Sub-Saharan Africa; an estimated 3 million of those who were infected over the past year.

The report says the most alarming aspect of this trend is in the number of women infected.

PETER PIOT, EXEC. DIREC., U.N. AIDS: The main news is that women now make up half of all people living with HIV, and that in every single region in the world, the proportion of people living with HIV that are women is on the rise.

GARGELO: In Africa it's even worse. Almost 57 percent of adults living with HIV are women; that's more than 13 million of them.

LOUIS MICHEL, U.N. DEVELOPMENT COMMISSIONER (through translator): There are persistent inequalities between men and women. And as a result, the disease continues to have a profound impact on women and men. And access to treatment is an issue.

GARGELO: The U.N. AIDS Report says young women age 15 and 24 in Africa are three times more likely to be infected than men in the same age group. There is also an extremely high infection rate among young, pregnant women in several countries.

In trying to work out why, the report points to violence and abuse, legal discrimination, and a lack of education for girls. Also, women are more biological at risk. They are twice as likely to become infected with AIDS during sex than men are.

The trend is devastating to the future of millions of African children, either born with the virus destined to live as orphans, or facing the prospect of little schooling and development.

This year as any other year, activists and celebrities are lending their voices to a call for action.

NELSON MANDELA, FMR. PRESIDENT, SOUTH AFRICA: They are our (UNINTELLIGBLE). And they are entitled to our compassion and our support.

BRAD PITT, ACTOR: We must act and act now to stand a chance of winning this fight against HIV-AIDS.

GARGELO: The scale of the challenge is as daunting as ever. Seven of out of every 100 adult live with HIV, and only massive investment in education and treatment will help chance that.

Susanna Gargelo, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: Well, those are the grim statistics. But what's being done to change that? We begin with some African musicians who've joined forces to raise funds and awareness about the impact of the disease on the continent. They've released a CD entitled "We are the Drums," that brings a message of hope for tomorrow, a future when HIV-AIDS no longer threatens Africa's children.

Robin Curnow has that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBIN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Called "We are the Drums," this is a song for Africans sung by 18 of the continent's top musicians. A musical collaboration with the United Nations Development Program and the brainchild of Djibril Diallo.

DJIBRIL DIALLO, UNDP: Africa is a continent of oral tradition; so using song is one of the most effective way of getting message to the remotest villages of the continent.

CURNOW: The message is clear; Africans must stop being victims and must take responsibility for the spread of HIV-AIDS.

DIALLO: What the "We are the Drums" does is to show to Africans that they have in themselves the power to reverse the situation.

CURNOW: A message that is being played in every African country in many different languages. It's a musical message targeting Africa's youth.

DIALLO: We need to work towards an AIDS free generation by the year 2015. Which means that in 2015, many young Africans who grow up should grow up being uninfected by the virus of HIV-AIDS.

CURNOW: Unlike a quarter of the current population of several African countries.

KATHLEEN CRAVERO, DEP. DIREC., UNAIDS: Across the nine countries of southern Africa, we have a prevalance rate of 25 percent. That means one in four human beings living in those countries are HIV-positive. And in at least four countries we have prevalance rates of over 30 percent. Life expectancy in the countries of southern Africa is now under 40 years of age.

CURNOW: With the disease still ravaging the continent, the song a call to each African to act as a tam-tam drum and to pass on the message to those who have not heard it.

Robin Curnow, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: "We are the Drums" went on sale in Africa, Europe and the United States last month.

Still to come on the program, a conversation with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.

And how one man's vision could mean hope for some AIDS orphans in Nigeria. That's all coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAKGABO: Welcome back.

Africa's elder statesman Nelson Mandela continues to lend his voice to the battle against HIV-AIDS. Mr. Mandela was in London this week for the publication of a book on the 46664 Concert, which was held last year to raise funds for the battle against AIDS. Some of the artists who participated in the concert joined Mr. Mandela at a program to launch the book.

The 86-year-old, former South African president used the occasion to appeal for a concerted effort to stem the spread of the disease.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANDELA: The reality is simple. If we can help, we must help. History has taught us this again and again; not only governments and the drug companies, but we to have a responsibility to act. Each of us must do more. Do more to educate each other about the facts of infection and how to prevent it. Do more to make treatment free to all in need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAKGABO: The book "46664" will be available next Thursday.

Now, former United States President Bill Clinton is another prominent statesman who's been involved in the global battle against HIV-AIDS. Last year, his foundation struck a deal with pharmaceutical companies to cut the price of drugs for some developing nations, including several African countries.

Earlier this week, Mr. Clinton discussed his global AIDS campaign with CNN's medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON (D), FORMER UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: When I first became president, America had the biggest AIDS problem. So in my first term, we were overwhelmingly preoccupied with it. Then we got the death rate down by 70 percent. And we looked around, and overnight in the span of history, it exploded in southern Africa. And so, in my second term we tripled overseas AIDS assistance and we began to really work hard on it.

But I thought that we had only scratched the surface. I wish we could have done more. I got as much as I could out of the Congress. So after I became a private citizen, the thing that really drove me crazy was we had all this medicine that would stop mother to child transmission or turn it from a death sentence into a chronic illness, but the medicine wasn't getting out in the poor countries. I just figured I'd go in there and see what I could do. And a lot of private individuals gave us money and we went in and started trying to put together health networks.

Then the major generic drug manufacturers agreed to cut their price from $500 a year to about $139. So that changed the economics and now we're working in 17 countries, including India and China, most of the Caribbean and five African countries. And we have another 12 countries that are buying drugs off our contract, soon to be many more. So I think within two years we will be treating 2 million people.

I don't think that most people in our country, and around the world in the richer countries, have absorbed what it might mean to a lot of these poor countries and fragile democracies if all of the sudden, you know, the death rates started running into the millions a year. And how difficult it would be to maintain their freedom, and how many more tribal wars or ethnic wars we might have. How many more 10 year old kids we might have carrying submachine guns instead of schoolbooks. This has enormous implications.

I just - I basically think that any money the American people, through their government spending, helping to advance health, help education and economic development around the world is about the most cost effective money you can spend to build a peaceful, more settled world.

We know what works. We know how to do foreign assistance now. We know how to get a real bang for the buck in fighting AIDS, in promoting economic opportunity and educating people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MAKGABO: Now we've seen what former presidents can do when it comes to drawing attention to the disease. But so can ordinary citizens such as Victor Mbaba, a Nigerian national who is helping thousands of children who've lost their parents to AIDS. Mbaba's Africa's Children's Fund organized a special program in southeastern Nigeria recently to teach young people how to avoid getting infected in the first place.

Here's his story from Camille Wright Felton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAMILLE WRIGHT FELTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): AIDS has made orphans of some two million children in Nigeria; these are just a few in Akwa Ibom State. And though it might sound perverse, they are the lucky ones; because 300 orphans in this corner of southeastern Nigeria are getting books, scholarship for school fees, school supplies and food, thanks to another Nigerian living thousands of miles away.

Victor Mbaba runs the Africa's Children's Fund from his adopted home in the United States. He became an orphan himself at the age of 10 during Nigeria's civil war.

VICTOR MBABA, FOUNDER, AFRICA'S CHILDREN'S' FUND: Because somebody, somebody helped me.

FELTON: Mbaba began shipping schoolbooks back to Nigeria seven years. Now, his AIDS orphans project is helping more than 12,000 people in this community, and it goes far beyond school supplies. Six thousand children and adults attended an AIDS prevention forum.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You risk your life just to be positive.

FELTON: To attract kids to the forum, organizers hosted a football tournament for the youth groups that participate. In addition to promoting AIDS prevention awareness, the ACF Project trains community-based educators and gives financial aid and vocational training to children and families affected by the disease.

While in Nigeria, Mbaba talked to children who've lost parents to AIDS. Most of the children in this household aren't able to go to school.

Blessing says she has to work even though she'd rather be in school with her sister.

BLESSING, AIDS VICTIM: I feel bad.

MBABA: Why do you feel bad?

BLESSING: Because I did not go to school. My sister did not go to school. She goes to school but there is no money. She only stay at Primary 6.

MBABA: Yes. This is good results.

FELTON: ACF does what it can to keep children in class, but Mbaba says the number of people in need make it hard to help everyone.

MBABA: Apart from funding, which is a challenge for most non-profit organizations throughout the world, we noticed that the situations we are trying to tackle oftentimes are very huge, so to speak.

FELTON: Mbaba is always looking for more help from individuals, companies and other organizations. He also gets a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. "It's money well spent," he says, "if it makes a difference to the lives of these children."

MBABA: So they can have a future and help to be the next leaders of this continent.

Camille Wright Felton for INSIDE AFRICA.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: Now, if you'd like to go online to read up a little bit more about the battle against AIDS, visit our Web site cnn.com/insideafrica. While there, do remember to take part in the "Quick Vote" on the subject. The address again for you, cnn.com/insideafrica.

And coming up after the break, how a new park is inspiring a renewal in one Cairo neighborhood. We'll tell you all about that in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MAKGABO: Hello again.

Cairo, Egypt is one of the most congested cities in the world. It's hoped to -- home to more than 60 million people living in very tight quarters. But in one neighborhood, a lush oasis is taking hold. And residents accustomed to pollution are getting a breath of fresh air, as Sylvia Smith tells us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVIA SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From a huge dust bowl to the largest, green open space in any North African city. Lush and verdant, the new al Azhar Park rose from the accumulated dust and debris of 1,000 years.

MAHER STINO, LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: I don't think anybody would have even the imagination to think how bad it was here. When we first walked into the park, the site here was full of garbage, debris, dust, concrete blocks, huge water tanks, there were concrete, all kinds of -- I mean it was very discouraging to even think about this being a park here.

SMITH: To give a city the size of Cairo lungs has taken 10 years of producing, plants, shrubs and trees in acres of greenhouses, to plant out in the park, while cultivating new ideas about horticulture.

EL SAADY M. BADAWY, HORTICULTURIST: We are trying to make a training center but for the people to learn them, to teach them how to at first to make for themselves a propagation of the plants, how to maintain the plants at home.

SMITH: Removing millions of tons of rubble uncovered the remains of a wall laid over 1000 years ago by the ancestors of the Aga Khan, who founded the original Cairo. The ancient wall, in need of conservation, developed into a project to renovate the adjoining slum city, Darb al Ahmar, a neighborhood teeming with social problems. But micro credit programs and vocational training classes are turning the area around.

This elderly man says he's very impressed with the way things are getting better. "This area used to be very run down," he says, "now everything is being renewed."

Business is thriving, learning new skills or refining old talents; involving the local community is all important.

DINA ISHAK BAKHOUM, CONSERVATION ENGINEER: This project has created a lot of work opportunities for local people in the area, as well as, of course, other restorers and technicians from other places.

MOHAMED EL MIKAWI, AGA KHAN SERVICES: Well, we see the park work as a catalyst, a catalyst for development of historic Cairo. We believe that the reopening of the gates, the old city gates connecting the Darb al Ahmar neighborhood with the park will create an influx of visitors from the community into the park and vice versa.

SMITH: Getting improvements to last means connecting this poor area with the tourism of Khan al Khalili, and making it attractive to big spending foreigners.

But the most compelling aspect of this massive development remains the park itself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): It's great. It's fantastic. We've never seen anything like it. We'll certainly come back again.

SMITH: The opening of the park has given many people here their first taste of nature on a large scale. Whether they will be able to maintain this impeccable green space is a question as wide open as the park itself.

For CNN's INSIDE AFRICA, I'm Sylvia Smith in Cairo, Egypt.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: It looks absolutely gorgeous.

Finally, a hot new voice is burning up the airwaves in Kenya and D.J. C.K. is not your every day CD spinner.

Our Jeff Koinange profiles Chris Kirubi.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet 67-something- year-old, billionaire mogul, Chris Kirubi, arguably and unapologetically one of Kenya's richest men. He's not ashamed to flaunt his wealth or his achievements. Trophies and awards clutter throughout his offices; "a symbol," he says of his accomplishments.

CHRIS KIRUBI, BILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN, KENYA: We have a big factory. I employ over 500 people in my factory.

KOINANGE: Among his assets he boasts, is one of the largest plastics manufacturing industries in the region, and numerous advertising and broadcasting companies as well.

KIRUBI: I like to think out of the box. Many people are confined to certain ways of doing things and acting. And I believe you should be flexible.

KOINANGE: Flexible indeed, but most here in this largely conservative country were caught off guard, when the self-styled tycoon did something no one here imagined he would. Donning headphones and taking phone requests on his very own, private radio station. He even has an on air moniker, D.J. C.K.

KIRUBI: I think a D.J. is somebody who entertains, who gels with the audience. And I thought wow, why don't I do that?

KOINANGE: And that he did, taking a crash course in spinning CDs and learning how to work this high tech equipment. He's not bothered about being dubbed Africa's oldest D.J. He insists his latest venture isn't a publicity stunt, calling it instead a personal mission directed at Kenya's youth.

KIRUBI: My major thrust is to help the pattern of the youth and to champion their cause. You don't have to be a politician to change the world. You just have to have your own strategy. And this is my strategy.

KOINANGE: Gimmick or not, D.J. C.K. is the talk of the town.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he brings out the youth in a very positive light. And he is so much fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: D.J. C.K. is great! I swear that guy is great.

KOINANGE: D.J. C.K. is now taking his show on the road, challenging younger D.J.'s in spin-a-thons like this in one of the capitol's nightclubs. Many of his challengers still toddlers when D.J. C.K. was busy making millions.

Next up for D.J. C.K., challenging the world's former No. 1 to a golf game.

KIRUBI: Tiger Woods is within my reach.

KOINANGE: Smart money says that's one of the few contests he's unlikely to win.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, Nairobi, Kenya.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MAKGABO: And of course, we want to hear your thoughts on the reports you see on the program. So if you have a comment to share with us, or if you'd like to tell us about something we need to be aware of, send us an email at insideafrica.cnn.com. Please do include which country you're writing to us from. And your response may be used on a future broadcast.

And that's our look inside the continent for this week. I'm Tumi Makgabo, thanks for watching.

END

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